Today we have another guest blog by reader Ian McKee who we call 45Bravo. He shows us the Crosman DPMS from a shooter’s point of view.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at [email protected].

Take it away, 45Bravo.

Crosman full-auto BB guns for a plinker/action shooter

DPMS SBR
Crosman’s DPMS SBR.

This report covers:

  • The 3B rating.
  • The shooting spectrum.
  • Target choices
  • Using the guns for training
  • It is like LEGO
  • The guts of the airgun
  • What does all this mean?
  • As BB said in the blog, BUY IT!

The 3B rating

Back in 2018 B.B. wrote a 3 part blog about the Crosman DPMS SBR.  It earned the coveted 3B rating (Buy it, Buy it, Buy it!)

The shooting spectrum

That says a lot about the gun, coming from a man who is pretty good at, and likes to make tiny groups of holes in paper, and is not really into making things ring/swing as fast as you can pull the trigger.  They are at the opposite ends of the shooting spectrum. 

One discipline centers on controlling your heart rate, breathing, concentrating on the front sight, while not rushing the shot, and follow through after the shot is fired.

The other is a pedal-to-the-metal race against the clock. It’s all about how fast can you can engage and HIT multiple targets at different distances, in challenging courses of fire. 

Don’t get me wrong, I like making small groups on targets also, but some guns are boringly accurate, (RidgeRunner back me up on this) and if you do your part, making small groups is easy with them.

Making small groups on paper under the pressure of competition adds a complete magnitude of difficulty.

My idea of fun is, once you are zeroed, it is time to move to things that move and make noise when you hit them.

In the blog, B.B. was getting dime/nickel-sized groups at 10 yards. While not outstanding accuracy for a pellet gun, it is more than adequate for action shooting at longer distances out to 25 or 30 yards. 

A hit anywhere on a steel target is a hit, it’s a yes or no feedback. Group size doesn’t matter.  So your accuracy only has to be sub-minute-of-your-target. 

With the ammo availability and pricing issues currently happening, powder burner shooters are either curbing their trigger time or seeking other alternatives to stay in practice. This is where the Crosman line of full auto BB guns shine. While they do offer the full-auto option here in the USA, and it makes for a fun family picnic rolling feral tin cans in the backyard, you don’t HAVE to use full-auto all the time. That being said, I have yet to see a person young or old that was not smiling from ear to ear after ripping through a mag on full-auto. 

A lot of benefit, and enjoyment can be had in the semiauto mode.

Crosman now offers several styles of AR-15 patterned co2 guns, and an AK platform gun with the same internals.

Some people say, “But it’s just a BB gun.” Don’t overlook the fact that the military of many countries have a long history of using airguns or other alternate means to reduce the cost of marksmanship training. What you are shooting does not matter — as long as you are still practicing sight picture, trigger control, and follow-through.

On my last trip to the firearm range, one of my friends was lamenting about the high cost and lack of availability of ammo. This friend who is not an airgunner, and is one who has always given me a lot of grief about “playing with toys” when I would bring an airgun to the range.

I handed him my Crosman DPMS SBR. He ran through a few drills he had been running with his AR-15 and, at distances from 20 ft, to about 35 yards, he hit every target in the stage, needless to say, he was impressed with the airgun.

He now has set up an airgun practice range on some land he owns.

He sent me this video.

First a word of caution, always wear eye protection, and do not shoot steel BBs at metal or wood targets, as they will bounce back AT YOU just as fast as you sent them down range.

I would suggest using the Air Venturi Dust Devils when shooting at metal targets.

Target choices

There are many metal target choices that give audible and visual feedback when hit. From tin cans, swinging spinners, and dueling trees, to the new Air Venturi BadaBang target that is paired to a smart device like a tablet or phone, and will generate random sequences. You must hit the targets in the order the target presents, and you can compete against your friends times and score using their Air Venturi BadaBang system at their home. 

Some of the larger fun action but less expensive targets can be aluminum pie plates, or even the disposable thin aluminum roasting pans you cook in during the holidays. The tins can be had in sizes closely replicating center mass of a man-sized target. They are thin enough to allow the projectiles to pass through, and they make a loud metallic sound when hit. 

The slow flight time of the BB also aids in follow-through because you have to wait for the 420 f.p.s. projectile to hit the target at 25 yards before you move to the next target. 

You COULD just fire as your sights cross the target, as you are transitioning to the next target, but when you miss the target, you have to break your rhythm, take the extra time to go back, reacquire the missed target, and score a hit on a target you HAD already aimed at, or you may take a time penalty. 

Going fast is slow, going slow is fast. It sounds weird, but it is a true statement. Make the hit first; speed and fluidity will come with practice.  If you take the time do it right the first time, you don’t have to go back and do it a second time.  

Using the guns for training

On several of the Crosman models they have standard sized external parts in key places that will interchange with the firearm models so the practice gun can have the same weight, grip, stock, forearm, optics and muscle memory as your firearm. 

One notable exception is the threaded barrel, it is threaded in 14mm left hand threads like airsoft guns (lefty tighty not righty tighty). So standard 1/2×20 airgun muzzle devices, or actual firearm 1/2×28 threaded devices will not fit. 

It is like LEGO

You can also build your “dream gun” that in firearm form would cost many thousands of dollars, and months of waiting for the several Federal Tax Stamps filed with the BATFE. (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives.)

DPMS tricked out
This gun would be virtually impossible/prohibitively expensive for the average person to build or buy in firearm form today; select fire, 10 inch barrel, adjustable stock, and functioning suppressor. 

The guts of the airgun

I think everyone will agree that the heart of any CO2 airgun is the valve. If the valve fails, its dead unless replacement parts can be bought or fabricated. The lungs are how the gun gets its air or gas to propel the projectile. And the digestive system is how it feeds on its diet of pellets or BBs. If any one of these key areas were to fail, you have a wall hanger. 

Someone at Crosman was thinking of this when they designed the new series of guns. The magazine contains all of the major “guts” of the gun. The valve, the air supply, and the feed mechanism are all contained within in the detachable magazine, along with an extra feature not normally found on BB guns, it has last round bolt hold open. 

So no more wasted CO2 when you are out of ammo.

DPMW magazine
The valve is located in the big metal block on the top left, and the tab indicated b the arrow is the bolt hold open.

Only the simple blowback mechanism and striker are housed in the “bolt carrier group” inside the upper receiver. This will be quite familiar to AR-15 owners.

DPMS bolt carrier group
The bolt carrier group.

The lower receiver houses the fire control group, which controls the safe, semi- and full-auto functions.  It also houses a “dual buffer assembly” that actually are the springs for closing the bolt carrier, and driving the striker inside the bolt carrier to actuate the valve when the trigger is pulled.

DPMS lower receiver
Looking straight down on the DPMS SBR lower receiver, we see the sear that interacts with the bolt in the upper receiver.

The way the guns internal parts function, really do have a lot in common with its firearm counterpart. They are just in no way interchangeable.

What does all this mean?

Mostly, if the gun stops functioning or develops a leak, just replace the magazine. That would likely cure 90% of the possible malfunctions.

They do sell extra magazines, and since the magazine will only hold 25 rounds, at the stated rate of fire of 1400 rounds a minute (about 23 shots a second) 25 rounds doesn’t last very long. 

The also sell a QR mag (Quick Reloading) magazine which has a 300 round BB reservoir, that will quickly load the 25 round feed tube in just a couple of seconds without removing the magazine from the gun. 

The downside of the QR magazine, is as you walk or move around, the BBs in the reservoir sound like a half empty box of Tic-Tacs. But it is so much faster to reload. 

As BB said in the blog, BUY IT!!

While you are at it, buy co2, and buy a LOT of BBs. 1500 B B’s will be about 60 magazines of use. When you are getting approximately 200 shots per fill, (your mileage may vary), you will need about 15 or so co2 cartridges to get through that box of BBs. 

I picked up my Crosman DPMS SBR with 1 magazine in a trade, I do not know the round count history of the gun, but as of this writing I have over 5000 rounds through mine with no mechanical issues so far, and following the maintenance listed in the manual. 

I can tell you from experience, that 1500 BBs and 15 co2 cartridges, makes for a very enjoyable and memorable afternoon with the family.

Shoot safe, have fun.

Ian